Sunday, September 14, 2014

New York and Peoria Dioceses In Battle Over Body Of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

A high-profile dispute between the Catholic Archdiocese of Peoria, Illinois and New York's Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan over the body of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is the focus of a New York Times report today. Sheen was a popular television personality in the 1950's.  Since his death in 1979, his body has been sealed in a crypt in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral.  The Peoria Diocese has been pushing for sainthood for Sheen, and has elaborate plans for a shrine to house his tomb, but Dolan refuses to allow the body to be exhumed.  This has led to a halt in the movement toward canonization.  According to the Times:
The very public tug-of-war over the body of Archbishop Sheen, has shocked many Catholics, in part because it seems like something that belongs in another era.
 “We should have moved out of the 14th century by now,” said Joan Sheen Cunningham of Yonkers, a niece of the archbishop and, at 87, his oldest living relative. “I would have thought so.” She wants the body to remain where it is.
The dispute is unlikely to ever reach the courts because of the refusal of civil courts to intervene in religious matters.